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History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues

Seventh Edition

Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie

Publication Date - October 2019

ISBN: 9780190949556

976 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The most comprehensive ethics anthology, essentially three books in one volume: history of ethics, modern ethical theory, and contemporary moral issues


Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Seventh Edition, features fifty-nine selections organized into three parts, providing instructors with great flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses in moral philosophy. Spanning 2,500 years of ethical theory, the first part, Historical Sources, ranges from Plato to Nietzsche. The second part, Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, presents the current debates over such issues as abortion, social justice, environmentalism, affirmative action, and sexual harassment. Nearly forty percent of the modern readings are authored by women. The book is enhanced by part introductions, selection introductions, and study questions. The seventh edition includes twelve new essays.

New to this Edition

  • Twelve new essays, featuring work by Joseph Butler, Henry Sidgwick, T.M. Scanlon, Noma Arpaly, Travis Timmerman, Tom Regan, Henry Shue, Karen Hanson, Laurence Thomas, Celia Wolf-Devine, N. Ann Davis, and Margaret Crouch


  • Offers instructors maximum flexibility with a rich selection of fifty-nine readings--twelve of them new-- on the history of philosophy, modern ethical theory, and contemporary moral problems
  • Features unabridged selections of major works throughout the text, including Plato's Euthyphro, Defense of Socrates, and Crito; Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals; Mill's Utilitarianism; and Sartre's Existentialism is a Humanism
  • Helps students get the most out of the presented ideas and arguments with robust pedagogy that includes part introductions, reading introductions, and study questions after each reading
  • Supported by a free, open-access companion website that provides additional study resources, including interactive self-quizzes and questions for discussion

About the Author(s)

Steven M. Cahn is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at The City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of more than sixty books. He is the editor of Exploring Ethics, Fifth Edition (OUP, 2019) and The World of Philosophy, Second Edition (OUP, 2018).

Peter Markie is Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is the author of Descartes's Gambit (1988) and the coauthor of Introducing Ethics (OUP, 2014).


"Ethics is a fine collection, one that is organized so that it can be tailored on a daily basis to an instructor's pedagogical goals. The introductions are models of clarity and accessibility for philosophy students, in particular for those who are new to philosophy."--Paul Hughes, University of Michigan-Dearborn

"The book's greatest strength is its excellent primary resources, which include a great variety of classical and contemporary authors. Students have access to the grand sweep of thinking in ethics and also pertinent information from prominent thinkers of today. The organization is helpful, and it matches much of what I teach in my ethics course."--L. Dean Allen, Northwest Florida State College

"I have looked at many other anthologies and this really is the best one for the survey course I teach. All of Cahn's anthologies, but especially this one, do an admirable job of abbreviating texts so that they are as accessible as possible, and so that they focus on the themes that carry over to other readings in the collection."--Gary Jaeger, Vanderbilt University

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Introduction, Alasdair MacIntyre
    1. Plato
    Defence of Socrates
    Phaedo (115b-118)
    Republic (selections)
    2. Aristotle
    Nicomachean Ethics (selections)
    3. Epicurus
    Letter to Menoeceus
    Leading Doctrines
    4. Cicero
    On Duties (selections)
    5. Epictetus
    6. Augustine
    Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love (selections)
    7. Thomas Aquinas
    Summa Contra Gentiles (selections)
    8. Thomas Hobbes
    Leviathan (selections)
    9. Joseph Butler
    Fifteen Sermons (Sermons I, II, III, *IX, XI, XII)
    10. David Hume
    A Treatise of Human Nature (selections)
    An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (selections)
    11. Immanuel Kant
    Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
    12. Jeremy Bentham
    An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (selections)
    13. John Stuart Mill
    * 14. Henry Sidgwick
    The Methods of Ethics (selections)
    15. Friedrich Nietzsche
    On the Genealogy of Morals (selections)
    Introduction, James Rachels
    16. G.E. Moore
    Principia Ethics (selections)
    17. H.A. Prichard
    Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?
    18. A. J. Ayer
    Language, Truth, and Logic (selections)
    19. C. L. Stevenson
    The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms
    20. John Dewey
    Theory of Valuation
    21. R. M. Hare
    Freedom and Reason (selections)
    22. J. J. C. Smart
    Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism
    23. Bernard Williams
    A Critique of Utilitarianism
    24. W. D. Ross
    The Right and the Good (selections)
    25. John Rawls
    A Theory of Justice (selections)
    26. David Gauthier
    Why Contractarianism?
    * 27. T. M. Scanlon
    What We Owe to Each Other (selections)
    28. Barbara Herman
    On the Value of Action
    29. Philippa Foot
    Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives
    30. Christine Korsgaard
    Skepticism about Practical Reason
    31. Thomas Nagel
    Moral Luck
    32. Susan Wolf
    Moral Saints
    33. Jean-Paul Sartre
    Existentialism Is a Humanism
    34. G. E. M. Anscombe
    Modern Moral Philosophy
    35. Julia Annas
    Being Virtuous and Doing the Right Thing
    * 36. Noma Arpaly
    Moral Worth
    37. Virginia Held
    Feminist Transformations of Moral Theory
    38. Gilbert Harman
    The Nature of Morality (selections)
    39. J.L. Mackie
    Inventing Right and Wrong (selections)
    40. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
    Moral Intuitionism Meets Empirical Psychology
    41. Mary Midgley
    Trying Out One's New Sword
    42. James Rachels
    Egoism and Moral Skepticism
    Introduction, Peter Singer
    43. Judith Jarvis Thomas
    A Defense of Abortion
    44. Don Marquis
    An Argument That Abortion Is Wrong
    45. James Rachels
    Active and Passive Euthanasia
    46. Philippa Foot
    Killing and Letting Die
    47. Peter Singer
    Famine, Affluence, and Morality
    * 48. Travis Timmerman
    A Reply to Singer
    * 49. Tom Regan
    We Are What We Eat
    * 50. Henry Shue
    Global Environment and International Inequality
    * 51. Karen Hanson
    Facing Facts and Responsibilities
    * 52. Laurence Thomas
    What Good Am I?
    * 53. Celia Wolf-Devine
    Proportional Representation
    * 54. N. Ann Davis
    Sexual Harassment in the University
    * 55. Margaret Crouch
    Sexual Harassment in Public Places
    56. Judith Jarvis Thomson
    The Trolley Problem
    57. Judith Jarvis Thomson
    Turning the Trolley
    58. Thomas Nagel
    59. Richard Taylor
    The Meaning of Life

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